they say don’t let a fox guard the hen house but
what if the hens become foxes and the house is a fox
too? i was raised in the land of happy meals
and participation medals, baked in the wry distrust
that only a pair of eastern bloc transplants could instill.
as a mushroom haircutted child, rules were law
but only at home.
punch the other children if they started it! nuns
lie! even at five
no authority reigned without reason
it’s madness
it’s gold lettering on my grandpa’s ticket to Auschwitz

we’ve been here before
oh the smiles and complicated phrases
oh the anger and fire
and what can we do
but link arms and never turn our backs on the fox
or each other?


even if it could be worse
if it could be worse
questioning and seeking don’t make you
ungrateful. spit on that word.
spit as they blow it out in sighs about timelines
and inconveniences
trust your heart, even if you only hear it
on sunday nights, whispering that the most dangerous
place to be is ‘not so bad’


keep falling in love with strangers and you’ll confirm
that it’s not the fall that kills you, but the sudden

there are endless mysteriously sad eyes
half-surrendered smiles and quiet meals
to run barefoot through fields to. i know you
dream of what was lost
but hear me out, i’m from a keep-your-shoes-on
kind of family and that bit of cautious
discomfort keeps the glass out of your heels

with practice

sometimes you get too close a look at the cracks
in your psyche and think
they should put me down. it’s true that the voices in your head
were once outside your head
speaking to you
about you

playback amplifies it, brewed fresh daily
like it’s keeping you alive when really
it’s an infection eating its way through your gut
picked up in the blood
pumped through your heart and into every cell
in your stupiduseless body

when i was in school this professor threw up a picture
of a bone infection on the screen
no warning.
it made me dizzy. that guy didn’t teach
that it takes at least eight weeks of antibiotics to touch that
he was an ass
and anyway, it’s one of those things
you learn on your own


shattering all the windows

that year, i lived in an apartment that was too much like
Big, but empty
nothing worked. fuses blew and needed to be unscrewed
and replaced. the radiators leaked
so it was cold all winter and the oven
gave up in October. i didn’t know it
at the time, but my landlord was caught laundering
drug money and also, i
was depressed

that’s why i was so skinny then
when we met
so skinny and depressed
oblivious to it all.
he came over to bake cookies once
right before the oven crapped out. now
i’ve an underweared man
in the kitchen
take out pizza with extra ranch because who cares
and other married


there was once a love that cut so deep
it wove into my soul
and when the spring came weeping
it flowed and flowed and flowed

the stems sprung up, almost at once
have you seen the bloom in May?
the paths were blazed and well worn when
they lead you straight to me


i saw the comedians between shows
       there were these circus dogs, once
sitting at the bar
       locked back in their cages
drinks in hand
       eyes downcast and listless
‘hey, i really enjoyed the show’
      cos how it is when no one’s looking is all there is, isn’t it?